Author Robert Matzen “Fireball: Carole Lombard & The Mystery of Flight 3”


A coin toss determined the fate of actress Carole Lombard-that probably a pieces of the story your didn’t know abut.  The mystery surrounding the plane crash which killed Lombard and a plane full goes unsolved today. After a visit to the crash site author Robert Matzem knew he had to tell the story of those who perished on Flight 3.

Five weeks after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Lombard – who at the time was the wife of the world’s most popular movie star, Clark Gable – journeyed by train from southern California to sell war bonds and stamps in her home state. After selling $2M in bonds in a single day in Indianapolis, Lombard – eager to get back to California because of rumours regarding Gable’s philandering – defied U.S. government orders to stay off planes and attempted to fly back to Hollywood aboard a commercial DC-3 that crashed 30 miles southwest of Las Vegas, NV on the evening of January 16, 1942. Also killed were three flight crew, fifteen U.S. Army Air Corps personnel, and three other civilians, including Carole Lombard’s mother and Clark Gable’s publicist at MGM. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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